Press release of His Excellency Dr Executive President of Public Authority for Civil Aviation on the Renaissance day July 23rd PACA: Towards global leadership and sustainable development
Since the rise of the blessed Renaissance to the path of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the Civil Aviation Sector has achieved many achievements over the past decades, which have made the Sultanate at the forefront of competitive levels, The Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) has contributed to organizational and service fields of the Civil Aviation Sector and the upgrading of this vital sector at the local and global levels since its establishment in 2012. The Authority's work is to issue and implement the systems and regulations that organize the civil aviation in the Sultanate of Oman, issuing the licenses for crews and maintenance stations, making bilateral air agreements between the Sultanate and other countries, establishing policies and rules to ensure airport security, air transport safety, the bases for the development of the revenues of the Sultanate's airports and its facilities and encouraging investment opportunities, monitoring, inspection and auditing in the field of its specialties on the operations of working airlines in the Sultanate. As for service tasks, the Authority establishes, manages, operates and maintains air navigation systems, develops them, regulates air traffic and grants transit and landing permits as well as presenting meteorological services and early warning services through monitoring and watching weather conditions, prepare reports and warnings when necessary and coordinate with concerned parties, conduct research and studies related to meteorology and applied climatology.
On this National occasion, Dr. Mohammed Bin Nasser Al-Zaabi, Executive President of PACA, said "I am pleased and on my own behalf and on behalf of all my colleagues to extend the highest congratulations and greetings to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said and to congratulate the Omani people on this glorious occasion, which is the renewal of the loyalty era to the builder of the Renaissance of Oman and its great glory. The Sultanate's achievements in the civil aviation sector are a confirmation of the future supreme vision of this promising and vital sector and to the interest and support to achieve these goals on the ground that the wise government put in their priorities to promote the civil aviation industry in the Sultanate. This is reflected in the prestigious position that the Sultanate has acquired worldwide, as evidenced by the leading international organizations in the field of civil aviation, air navigation and meteorology under the latest developments and technologies, which paved the way for the Sultanate to be a pioneer in aviation safety and security, environmental protection and the infrastructure of the civil aviation and air services sectors and the infrastructure of the civil aviation and air services sectors. These achievements also reflect the success of the strategies pursued by the Authority to enhance its position towards globalization and its ability to look ahead to global leadership and sustainable development for the public benefit and the prosperity of Oman."
His Excellency also referred to the distinct role of the Authority in crisis management and dealing with emergencies following international standards, which is reflected in the recent receipt of a tribute from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for being a bridge between Europe, Asia and the Pacific. This came after the success of the contingency plan and the effective management taken by the Authority during the closure of the Afghan and Pakistani airspace in the Middle East and Pacific regions, ensuring the readiness of PACA to deal directly with the event through proper planning in the use of new routes and emergency procedures in a timely manner with fruitful cooperation and effective coordination. His Excellency noted, "The Authority continues to maintain the continuity of air traffic across the Middle East region from and to the regions of Asia and the Pacific, keep up the safe flow of redirected air traffic around the area that is affected by the closure, and comply with standard notification processes and procedures for the regional contingency coordination teams (CCTs), as well as its continued support for the activities of the ICAO." His Excellency expressed that this praise was the second of its kind, as PACA received a letter of appreciation from ICAO for its role in the management of aviation emergency plans, and this praise is an international recognition t we are all proud of for what the Authority does to overcome the challenges and urged to do more to achieve the best levels of performance and productivity.
To enhance the air transport system in the Sultanate because of its economic and political horizons in all vital sectors, His Excellency emphasized the importance of freeing the sky to create harmonious competitive prospects. Efforts have been made to reach a comprehensive air transport agreement between the Sultanate and all European Union countries. Earlier this year, the Authority entered into air transport negotiations between the Sultanate and the European Union with the participation of national airlines in Oman (Oman Air and Salam Air). Opportunities and challenges were discussed to ensure the sustainable development of both sides by applying the best standards and shared values. These negotiations are a prelude to the signing of the agreement, which has become close.
The Sultanate has entered into bilateral air transport agreements with 102 countries in the world, while the number of open skies agreements reached 45 agreements on the regulation of air transport services until the end of 2018.
As for the management of the Omani airspace, he said, "We are keen to implement civil aviation infrastructure projects following the timeframe set for its strategic methodologies to further improve the safety of air navigation, the efficiency of civil aviation security and the quality of the provided service." In the same context, he also spoke about the recent inauguration of another air sector, which is the seventh one to be organized into the existing sectors of the region. This expansion comes less than two years after the inauguration of the sixth sector to meet the requirements of air traffic management, especially at peak and extraordinary times. The Sultanate has witnessed an unprecedented increase in traffic to its airspace by 30%. As a result of the regional situation in conjunction with the efficiency and efforts of cadres owned by PACA, which enabled it to manage the airspace according to the contingency plans laid down with all due diligence.
His Excellency added: "We are witnessing remarkable growth in air traffic in the Sultanate. This growth resulted in many benefits that contributed to an increase in PACA' revenue and the national economy. The total revenues in 2018 amounted to 91,530,719 OMR while the passenger traffic was about 16 million, an increase of up to 12% from the previous year."
His Excellency also underlined the importance of developing airports and increasing their ability to achieve sustainable prosperity globally. The new Muscat International Airport, inaugurated in 2018, is one of the most significant achievements of the blessed Renaissance, confirming the high potential and global luxury features that characterize the current airport, which undoubtedly contributes to attracting developmental investment projects and thus strengthen the economic sector in the Sultanate. Muscat International Airport has achieved a significant leap in world rank from 74th to 18th in its category. It has also won several awards including best Middle East airports in 2019, the largest project in the Gulf and the world's leading new airport in 2018, the leading new tourism development project in the Middle East, and the Middle East's best airport in growing passenger satisfaction. Besides, Salalah's new airport has been ranked the sixth in the world-class rankings and has recently been awarded a 5-star rating for regional airports as the first regional airport in the Middle East and the fourth airport in the world to be ranked in this category.
Moreover, His Excellency affirmed that the opening of Duqm Airport this year has made it easier to come to a zone with high economic and industrial potential as the airport primarily serves the commercial traffic, but may become part of the tourism industry with a total area of 27,386 square meters and an estimated capacity of half a million passengers a year with the possibility to expand to two million passengers annually. Passenger traffic in 2018 reached 50,505 passengers, a 47% increase over the previous year.
Talking about Musandam airport sites choice, he said, "The first phase of the project was completed, which is to limit all possibilities and challenges and to come up with recommendations for the best-proposed site for the establishment of the airport through a detailed study that was presented. The project was completed in the second phase, which is the most crucial thing dealt with the preparation of the master plan of the airport per the highest international standards and determine the estimated cost of the project.
In the meteorology sector, His Excellency expressed regarding the international prize that the Authority has received, including the World Meteorological Organization prize (WMO) for the distinct role of the Sultanate in the technical and media handling of exceptional weather conditions (Mekunu/Laban) through an addressed letter from the organization to PACA.
His Excellency also noted this speech, his delight to the success achieved by the Authority in cooperation with the competent Authorities in the regional exercise to assess the early warning system of t tsunami in the Indian Ocean, which is organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the Educational United Nations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), verifying the readiness of the Sultanate and its preparedness to face the risk of tsunami and in order to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the management system of early warning of the risk of tsunami, and test communications and operational procedures standardized systems and enhance emergency preparedness, as well as raising the level of awareness of the tidal dangers.
In the framework of protecting the ecosystems sustainably, His Excellency highlighted the keenness of PACA to make the Sultanate one of the world's leading countries in the field of environmental safety and air purity. Based on the Authority belief in the consequences of environmental pollution, PACA has begun to implement the actual noise management of the aircraft used at Muscat International Airport, which aims at maintaining the Sultanate's atmosphere and reducing aircraft engine noise by the ICAO standards for the reduction of pollution and emissions from aviation activities. Further, PACA has developed a long-term environmental strategy that includes preventive and technical solutions to reduce the effects of pollutants.
In conclusion, the Executive President appreciated the support received by the Civil Aviation in the Sultanate from the government-led wise by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, which enabled it to achieve continuous development and rapid growth in both the organization and service fields of civil aviation such as meteorology and aeronautics with qualified Omani competencies and promising to guide the sector towards leadership and sustainability, underlining that the Authority will spare no effort to ensure the highest levels of safety and security in the air traffic and environmental protection due to the importance of the civil aviation sector as an essential pillar of the national economy and an integrated and enabling sector for the non-oil sectors, including the logistics and tourism sectors.